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'The Crucible'

Donte Batiste, a Brandon High School junior, and Taylor Reid, a BHS sophomore, rehearse their roles as John Proctor and Mary Warren in ‘The Crucible.’ Photo by Patrick McAbee. (click for larger version)
October 26, 2011 - Brandon Twp.- For the first time ever, "The Crucible" will be presented on stage at the Brandon High School Performing Arts Center.

Performances of Arthur Miller's story about the Salem witch hunt will take place at 7 p.m., Nov. 10, 11, and 12 at the PAC, 1025 S. Ortonville Road. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door.

The performances also mark Jeff Malicke's debut as BHS play director after Cathy Ciesielski retired in June after a 40-year teaching career.

"I've always wanted to be part of the plays," said Malicke, who is in his fifth year of teaching English and broadcasting at BHS, and previously was involved in directing independent films.

"It was a rookie mistake choosing 'The Crucible,'" he continued, laughing. "I wanted a great story and because 'The Crucible' is a great story, I though I wouldn't have to worry too much— there aren't many special effects, you don't need a lot of fluff— but there are a lot of lines, and this is the first play for a lot of the kids."

There are around 25 castmembers for "The Crucible," but only six male students in the play caused Malicke to change some typically male roles in the drama to female roles.

Set in Salem, Massachussetts during 1692, "The Crucible," chronicles panic in the town over suspected witchcraft after the Reverend Parris sees his niece and several other girls dancing in the forest. The Reverend Hale is called in to determine whether it was witchcraft the girls were doing, and accusations ensue until the entire town is involved.

"They all have their own agendas," said Malicke. "It's a story about what happens with the abuse of power. It has a good moral lesson about standing up for your convictions and fighting against corruption."

Nicole Ladd, 16, a BHS senior, plays the role of Abigail Williams, an antagonist in "The Crucible" who creates a lot of problems in the town.

"If one is accused, 100 are— it becomes such a big deal because of her," said Ladd, of her role in what will be her third and last BHS play. "Her moral compass is not pointed north. I was fortunate to receive the role. I love her attitude— it's sassy and she is in control. This is a powerful play and very controversial."

Joe Kelley, 17, also a BHS senior, plays Giles Corey, whom he describes as a very moral character, the contrast of Abigail.

"He is a bit of comic relief, that's why I like him, and because he is a very passionate character," said Kelley, who is acting in his first play. The experience has been easier than he thought it would be. "We've worked as a team to put this together. I think the audience will like this very intense, dramatic play— it will suck them in and make them feel for these people."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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